I picked up a cheap Netgear WG511 the other day. Got it for $35, probably because they have recently released the WG511T which uses the Atheros super-G chipset. The older WG511 uses the Prism Duette chipset which isn't officially supported on Linux by anybody. I say officially, because some code has snuck out and there is a new site out there devoted to it. Have a look at http://prism54.org/. I haven't tried that driver yet, but I will update this when I do. [Update - Feb.18/2004] I am now using the driver from prism54.org compiled into my 2.6.3 kernel on my Thinkpad and it works nicely.

For now I wanted to give the Linuxant Driverloader a whirl to see if I could use the native Windows XP drivers directly on my Thinkpad with a very recent 2.4.22 kernel. It worked amazingly well. See the extended entry for the step-by-step screenshots.

Of course, the whole point of going with 802.11g over 802.11b is to go faster. I haven't done any real performance tests yet with this Windows driver running on Linux. Hopefully I will get some time to test it against the native driver soon. Step 1 was to plug my Thinkpad into a wired port. How old-fashioned! And then plug the new Netgear PCMCIA card in. My kernel obviously didn't know what to do with it at this point. I then grabbed the driverloader-1.38.tar.gz tarball, ran "make install" and then the dldrconfig command as shown: From then on it was a web-based install. Cool! So the first hurdle was to find the Windows XP drivers for the WG511 and actually get the .inf, .sys and .arm files out of the annoying executable Netgear provides. I cheated and used an XP box to install them and just copied them over from the drivers directory. They are probably also on the CD that came with the card, but I wanted the latest. You then feed the web interface the .inf file. It figures out that I need the .sys and .arm files as well. It has ingested the Windows driver and reads the MAC off of my card. Ah, an Advanced button. I like those. You always find all the essential settings that the vendors think you are too dumb to understand there. Here we find that we can enable the power saving features of the driver. Next I need a free trial license to activate it. Clicking through (remember I have a wired interface up still) is easy enough. Just enter the email address and license string you get from the Linuxant site: And you are done! Now just use your standard iwconfig tool like with any other wireless driver and it just works!

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